To celebrate International Women’s day we sat down with our Finance Director Judith Aspin to find out more about her inspiring career and how she began. Judith joined the Vernon in 2016 bringing her knowledge of managing financial risk from her senior positions in Treasury and Finance with The Cooperative Bank.
Hello Judith, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. So, how did you start your career in financial services?
Well, my dad worked as a bank branch manager and then moved to Inspection. He actually advised me not to go into banking as the careers for women were limited, so I started with accountancy instead… and ended up in banking anyway! Thankfully, attitudes in the field were changing so I was able to make a career.
What were your initial/long term goals and how did you work towards them?
After training with an accountancy firm, I soon realised that I was a ‘doer’ rather than a ‘commentator’ so I moved into a role where I could make decisions. I never thought I would be a Finance Director, I just have a desire to improve things and that led from one thing to another.
Can you tell us the biggest obstacle/hurdle you have faced in your career?
My ‘can do’ attitude means that I have found different ways of working round obstacles. I have, however, faced many challenging life events throughout my career, including having two children, one of which was premature. Another event being when my son had a major operation. I have been lucky in that I have worked alongside supportive colleagues, who have recognised that obstacles are part of life.
Throughout your career, what was the biggest achievement you have earned in your career?
The biggest achievement for me is something that you may think of as odd. It was when I supported and encouraged a lady who worked for me to undertake professional exams whilst having a young family and finally seeing her through to completion of her CIMA (accountancy) exams. There were many times that she questioned her ability and had low confidence but with encouragement and her own determination, she achieved.
Do you have any suggestions for other women looking to join the financial services industry?
Financial services is a good career path for anyone and as with any career if you want to succeed then you need to be prepared to work hard, get some setbacks but still have the resilience to keep trying. As the old proverb goes ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.’
We reached out to the colleague Judith had supported throughout her accountancy exams for the following quote:
“I’m so grateful for Judith’s help, guidance (and even therapy!) over the years. She sees potential in everyone and had the ability to encourage me out of my comfort zone. Without her I would never have started my exams, let alone finished them”.